An umpire’s job in Test cricket is as tedious as a bowler who puts in the hard yards for 20 overs in a day.
Let us go back to the era when the game of cricket totally relied on human acumen and accuracy, which made substantial errors. Those errors were comprehensible as humans are bound to make mistakes but the one made by umpire Vikram Raju in 1986 that also scripted the second tied Test in cricketing history was unavoidable. Since then, technology has scaled newer heights and made major amends; it has advanced drastically and made a life of an umpire a lot easier.
An umpire’s job in Test cricket is as tedious as a bowler who puts in the hard yards for 20 overs in a day. His concentration has to be at the peak and cannot afford to step a foot wrong as one blink would cause hell lot of errors when the ball is being delivered. It demands hawk-like concentration and alertness as good as a deer. Standing for 90 overs in a scorching heat and focusing hard is not everyone’s cup of tea, so they too are bound to get few decisions off beam. The point is, when there is a technology available to be grabbed and has proved its dependability, why not take it? India’s reluctance of not using the Decision Review System (DRS) will only hamper the game’s credibility.
Earlier, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) have stated their reasons behind opposing DRS, which emphasises on its 100 percent accuracy. But one thing is for sure, it is much more reliable and precise than a naked human eye. Use of DRS would certainly cut down the margin of error further bringing equilibrium to the gentlemen’s game. The decisions made would be more error free and a fairer result can be expected.
Any series played without DRS anyway relies on the third umpires on few occasions, which again relies on some or the other kind of technology. If the whole world, various sectors are joining hands with advanced technologies, then why is cricket nagging behind? Initially, BCCI also opposed to 20-20 (T20) cricket, but India were the one, who won the first World T20 title back in 2007. And now, T20 tournament has become a huge success in India with the emergence of Indian Premier League (IPL).
The ongoing Test between India and New Zealand at Kanpur saw few decisions going the hosts’ way, which could well prove crucial from New Zealand’s point of view. Luck did not ride on Kiwi batsmen as couple of decisions suggested the other way around in replays. Luke Ronchi was playing an important hand on 38 when a flighted delivery from Ravindra Jadeja hit him on his thigh pad and the impact was outside off. Initially, it looked plumb but the replays were in stark contrast. Another instance occurred when Ross Taylor was adjudged out to Jadeja but a ball tracking technology would have cleared even the slightest doubt in the mind of fans.
When the whole world is joining hands with advanced technology then why cricket is nagging behind? And nothing in this world is perfect and comes with some glitch or shortcomings. DRS is no different and expecting 100 percent accuracy out of it is like expecting a corruption free country, which is beyond human’s reach. One should not forget, it was DRS, which gave Sachin Tendulkar another reprieve in the semi-final encounter against Pakistan a Mohali. He was ruled out when a delivery from Saeed Ajmal struck Tendulkar’s pad and was ruled out by the on field umpire. The Master Blaster reviewed it and the ball tracker suggested the white leather to have missed the leg stump completely Had that been given out, Tendulkar wouldn’t have piled some more runs and the no one knows if Indian would have lifted the World Cup or not?
Not to forget, the Galle Test when India toured Sri Lanka last year was lost due to few umpiring blunders. Had DRS been there, the result of the game would surely been in India’s favour. Virat Kohli was given out but soon the replays showed the other way round, Ajinkya Rahane had to walk back on a duck before adjudged leg before and only DRS would have saved him. The most surprising one was that of Wriddhiman Saha, who was caught while the ball hit his helmet. It would not be wrong to say that Indian would have won this Test had these three decisions gone in their favour.
Sri Lankan stumper Dinesh Chandimal too got couple of reprieves along with Lahiru Thirimanne who got one and the duo piled massive runs to put India under pressure. India would have registered a whitewash had BCCI would not be reluctant to use the advanced system.
On this, former Sri Lankan captain Mahela Jayawardene in his column for Times of India, wrote, “I sympathise with some of the BCCI’s concerns about the accuracy of DRS, especially ball-tracking, but on balance, the use of the system has clearly reduced umpiring errors and improved the game. India would have won had DRS been used in Galle.”
It wouldn’t be wrong to say that DRS will be a part of the game in the distant future alike the other cricketing rules but why not take it now? It will not be right to say if the DRS will always work in the favour of the team reviewing the umpire’s decision but it would certainly bring more transparency. There have been instances where a batsman has not edged the ball but still ended up being out, blunders like this could be avoided by bringing DRS into effect.
When all the major ICC tournaments are making use of it then why is BCCI being disinclined about it? Technology keeps advancing and in the distant future it is definite that DRS would be more precise. It makes a lot of sense to get along with the current technology and look what lies in the future; instead of sticking to old school, moving forward is what makes the game evolving.